Sarah Alexander Cunningham collection
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Sarah Alexander Cunningham collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Cunningham, Sarah Alexander, 1887-1976.
Title: Sarah Alexander Cunningham collection
Dates: 1803-1939
Extent: 2.0 cubic feet (4 boxes)
Identification: MS 0194

Biographical/Historical Note

Sarah Alexander Cunningham (1887-1976) was the daughter of Henry C. Cunningham and Nora Lawton Cunningham and granddaughter of Gen. Alexander Robert Lawton and Sarah Gilbert Alexander Lawton. She was a leader in the suffragette movement in the 1920s, a supporter of local programs for senior citizens, of the Savannah Public Library, of the Georgia Historical Society, of Bethesda Home for Boys, of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the Savannah Symphony Society, and of the Independent Presbyterian Church. In 1919-1920, she worked with the American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of family papers: Alexander, Lawton, and Cunningham. For relationships of the various persons see The Alexander Letters, 1787-1900 (Savannah: 1910), which this collection supplements. The letters of 1919-1920 were written by her to her mother and concern her work in France at the end of World War I. Included in the collection are diaries, scrapbooks and photographs. The papers are arranged as follows: family correspondence and other papers in chronological order, diaries, scrapbooks and photographs.

An edited, annotated transcription of item 205, the Grimball journal, was created by Rev. Dr. Robert E.H. Peeples of SC, January 7, 1982. The original is very fragile; the transcript should be used instead.

Index Terms

Alexander family.
American Committee for Devastated France.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Cunningham family.
Cunningham, Sarah Alexander, 1887-1976.
Drawings (visual works)
Family papers.
Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Georgia--Social life and customs.
Lawton family.
Letters (correspondence)
Plantation life.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Tattnall, Josiah, 1795-1871.
World War, 1914-1918--France.

Location of Originals

Original letter from Mrs. Lawton to Gen. Henry R. Jackson in Cuyler Collection, University of Georgia Libraries(?).

Physical and Technical Access Restrictions

The original Grimball journal (Item 205) is very fragile; the provided transcript should be used instead.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Portions of the collection were acquired from collector and from collector's estate.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Sarah Alexander Cunningham collection, MS 194, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Sarah A. Cunningham and estate of, 1969, 1977, 1978, 1976 (Item 213), 1979 (Add. 3); Mrs. W.A. Norton, 1956 (Item 60); Armstrong State College Library, 1955 (Item 209).


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Separated Material

Artifacts were separated and cataloged with the Georgia Historical Society Artifacts Collection. View digital images of artifacts at the end of this collection inventory or search the Digital Image Catalog for further information.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List




11Correspondence and other papers, 1803-1839 ( 11.0 items. )
Typed copy of baptismal record of Adam Leopold Alexander, 1803; typed copy of a letter from Mrs. A.L. Alexander (at age of 6) to her, 1812; Mary McWhir to Mrs. Louisa F. Alexander, 1819, regarding news of herself and husband and Liberty County school; typed copy of marriage license of A.L. Alexander and Sarah H. Gilbert, 1823; Resolutions on the death of William G. Gilbert, 1831; Sarah G. Alexander to her mother, 1832, with the appended note by Louisa Porter; Harriet and Mary Clifford Alexander to their mother, 1835; Roger S. Baldwin to A.L. Alexander, 1835; three letters of Sarah G. Alexander to her mother, Sept. 1 and 4, 1837, and Sept. 9, 1839. All letters have news of family, friends, schooling, etc.
2Correspondence and other papers, 1840-1844 ( 24.0 items. )
Most of these letters were written by Sarah G. Alexander to her parents, A.L. Alexander and Sarah H. Alexander and to her sister, Louisa F. Alexander. They contain news of herself, friends, and family. One letter is written by Mrs. Alexander to her daughter, Sarah. There is an anonymous poem on death, dated December 2, 1841.
3Correspondence and other papers, 1845-1859 ( 19.0 items. )
All but two of the letters are by Sarah G. Alexander to her mother and her sister Louisa F. Alexander. Those of 1845 were written before and shortly after her marriage to Alexander Robert Lawton in November of that year. One is a typed copy of a letter of A.L. Alexander to his wife, May 6, 1845, and one is by Harriet Alexander to her sister Mary Clifford Alexander Hull, February 1, 1857. Some of the letters are incomplete.
4Correspondence and other papers, 1860-1869 ( 18.0 items. )
Most of the papers are letters of Sarah Alexander Lawton to her father, A.L. Alexander, 1860-1864. There are two letters to her sister, Mary Clifford Hull, 1864, both published in The Alexander Letters..o.op. cit., p.263-266, 269-274, and one from Gen. A.R. Lawton to his wife, July 15, 1862. They give details of life at home and in Richmond during the Civil War. There is also a letter of Mrs. Lawton to her daughter, Nora, March 20, 1864, and Gen. Lawton's account current with Baring Brothers & Co., London, December 17, 1869. Included is a photocopy of a typed copy of a letter from Mrs. Lawton to Gen Henry R. Jackson, September 6, 1861, regarding her husband and his unappreciated services to government, news of Savannah and mutual friends (original in Cuyler Collection, University of Georgia Libraries?).
5Correspondence and other papers, 1870-1896, and undated and incomplete ( 24.0 items. )
Two letters of Sarah Alexander Lawton to her father, May 18, 1870 (?) regarding a gift to Commodore Josiah Tattnall and November 6, 1879-1881 regarding social life in Savannah; Alexander R. Lawton to Charles P. Greenough, September 11, 1876 (5 p.) regarding the Hamburg riot and political situation in South Carolina and Georgia during Reconstruction (with this is a covering letter from C.R. Greenough Fuller to Mrs. A.S. Cleveland, presenting to her the letter and a photograph of the three Alexander R. Lawtons, 1956); A.R. Lawton to his wife, 1882, regarding daughter Nora's back trouble; Charles R. Venable to A.R. Lawton, 1885, commending him for his stand in behalf of the wife of Gen. Armistead L. Long against false charges; 6 printed poems of Georgia Chief Justice Logan E. Bleckley sent to Mrs. Lawton, 1886; list of Nora Lawton's wedding presents, 1886; part of a letter of Sarah A. Lawton describing a dinner (Vienna, 1888?); A.R. Lawton to his daughter, Nora Cunningham, 1891, offering financial assistance; of another and a complete letter to sister Harriet A. Cumming 1889-1895, all regarding family news and gossip; same to her children, 1895, giving her thoughts on her approaching 50th wedding anniversary, with note by A.R. Lawton; same to her sister, Clifford A. Hull, 1896, regarding birth of Clifford's grandson same to her daughter, Nora Cunningham, 1896, thanking her for her Christmas present; A.R> Lawton to Miss Louisa, undated re his affection for her; Nora Lawton's own listing of her faults, undated; parts of 6 letters, most of them in Sarah A. Lawton's handwriting, regarding family news; unattached envelopes. Some are incomplete.
6Miscellaneous ( 18.0 items. )
List of births, marriages, and deaths in the Alexander and Lawton families with dates (typed_; genealogical information on the Schmidt family of Wurtembert (typed); will of David P. Hillhouse (typed); obituary of Adam L. Alexander (typed); three ms. poems; abstracts from Wilkes County, Ga. records regarding Hillhouse lands (typed); newspaper clipping from the London Times, February 1, 1889, regarding the death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria; photocopy of an article from Civil War Times, April 1966, "Lawton Goes Home," by W.R. Teall; 7 newspaper clippings regarding members of the family; typed story, "Dick Deason," author unidentified.
7Recipes and household remedies ( 30.0 items. )
1 notebook and 29 papers; some are newspaper clippings.
8Sarah A. Cunningham letters, 1919 June 25-December 30 ( 26.0 items. )
Letters written from Vic-Sur-Aisne to her mother, Mrs. Henry C. Cunningham, while she was serving with the American Committee for the Devastated Regions in France (Comite Americain pour les Regions Devastees de la France). The first letters, June 25-July 7, 1919 form a diary. There is an account of the devastation of Vic-Sur-Aisne by the Germans.
9Sarah A. Cunningham letters, 1920 January 4-March 14 ( 11.0 items. )
Same as above. One of the letters was written by Doris Badger; another by Anna M. Dike, President of the Committee, re Miss Cunningham's impending return home.
10Sarah A. Cunningham memorabilia, 1919-1920 ( 21.0 items. )
Visa; Christmas program at Dommiers, December 30, 1919; membership card in the cercle de la Jeunesse de Vic-Sur-Aisne; printed poem, "What Can I Do For Jesus?"; photograph of Miss Cunningham in uniform; 9 snapshots of groups and individuals at Vic-Sur-Aisne; 4 postal cards showing devastation at Dommiers, three of them signed; 2 colored postal cards of children in Alsace; 1 postal card of a silhouette of a child with two dogs.



2205Family record of Paul Grimball: births, deaths, marriages, 1701-1719, 1727-1757
Mikell and Fickling intermarriages; business accounts interspersed. Transcript should be used instead of original.
206Sarah G. Alexander's copy book of poems, 1841-1855
Manuscript copies of poems, some by Georgia authors: R.H. Wilde, Aminta Sorrel, H.R. Jackson, MB. Lamar, Maria McIntosh, and Henry Timrod of South Carolina; clippings of poetry and articles laid in.
207Sarah G. Alexander Lawton's scrapbook, 1862-1896
Clippings of verses and newspaper articles, many of them of local interest. Some entries are hand written.
208Sarah G. Alexander Lawton's diary, 1876 January 1-1884 May 20
Clippings inserted. Concerns family and social life in Savannah.
209Sarah G. Alexander Lawton's diary, 1876
Notes interspersed and pasted in Hostetter's Illustrated United States Almanac, 1876.
210Sarah G. Alexander Lawton's "Expenses of Dress for self for the year commencing October 1, 1872 to February 1882"
Includes other expenses income from houses, and a note of clothing expenses not dated.



3211Scrapbook labeled "Vienna Clippings", 1887-1888
Clippings from various European newspapers during Gen. A.R. Lawton's tenure as U.S. Minister to Austria, the death of Emperor William of Germany. The clipping on the assassination of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria is in folder 6.
212Nora Lawton's scrapbook. Clippings of poetry
213Cunningham scrapbook, 1878-1886 and undated
Scrapbook which was kept by some member of members of the family of Sarah A. Cunningham. It contains obituaries of some relatives and of prominent persons in Savannah, in Georgia, in the United States and in England. There are two wedding invitations and a few wedding notices of members of the family. Other clippings are items of general interest, poems, politics and the Central of Georgia Rail Road Company. Of interest is an item quoting General A.R. Lawton on an anonymous satirical poem on the litigation over the will of Mary Telfair, p.7. Most clippings are undated; those that are: 1878-1886.
11Original drawings; pen and ink, pencil, water color ( 16.0 items. )
Two signed Sarah Alexander; two signed with initials.
12Photographs, identified ( 18.0 items. ) View online.
Louisa Frederick Alexander Porter; Gen. Alexander Robert Lawton; Sarah G. (Alexander) Lawton (in Vienna); Nora (Lawton Cunningham (2); Nora Lawton and Alexander Rudolph Lawton (Paris, 1866); Anna Frances (Mayhew) Cunningham; John Beckwith Lawton (infant); Gari Melchers; Corrinne (Lawton) Melchers (5); Louisa Frederick (Lawton) Mackall with children, Corinne and Lawton Mackall (in Italy); Leonard Leopold Mackall (age 2 1/2) and Corinne Lawton Mackall (age 18 mos.); W.W. Corcoran; — Laidlaw (?).
Online Inventory Contains Digitized Items
13Photographs, unidentified ( 10.0 items. )
14Snapshots ( 11.0 items. )
All except one are on postal cards. One is a view of Miss Cunningham's house and garden in Killingley, Conn.; three are of an old model airplane; the remainder - groups and individuals - are unidentified.
15Photographs: African American hucksters ( 25.0 items. )
Photographs taken in Forsyth Park during one of the annual huckster contests.
Addendum 1


4Alexander J. Lawton - Plantation Diary, Beaufort District, South Carolina, 1810-1840
Typed and bound copy in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Item 296: Scrapbook, undated
Clippings and typed sheets, mostly poetry. There are some articles of general interest, and cartoon.
Addendum 2



418Photograph of the Alexander family


1Item 298: Citation to Sarah A. Cunningham from the Comite Americain Pour les Regions Devastees de la France, 1916-1923
In tube outside box.
Addendum 3



419Miscellaneous papers, 1921-1939 and undated
19Item 299: Jeanne Lemasson to Cher Maraine. Maneglise, 1923 April 23, 3.0 p.
In French.
19Item 300: Fraternité Franco Americaine to Mrs. H.C. Cunningham. Paris, 1923 December 4, 1.0 p.
Form letter requesting donation with enclosures.



3301-304Items 301-304: Postcards to Miss Cunningham from various places, 4.0 items.
Only two dated; one is illegible, the other is September 2, 1921.



419Item 305: Ann Morgan to Sarah Cunningham. New York, 1939 April 15, 1.0 p.
Regarding keeping alive the America Committee for Devastated Regions (C.A.R.D.). Enclosure re the Cooperation Franco-Americaine.
19Items 306-309: Printed materials, 4.0 items.
"Victory: Point of View of the French," Broadside; Lille Before and During the War (Michelin, 1919); The Confederate Veteran: Address of Gen. E. Porter Alexander...June 9, '02 (Cleveland, Ohio, undated); A Sketch of the History, Creed and Service of the Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Georgia by Neal L. Anderson (Savannah, 1922).
Item 310: Album of snapshots and postal cards from various places Miss Cunningham visited
A-0194-001 Medal from the American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France, bearing the profile of Anne Morgan View online.
A-0194-002 Medal from the American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France, bearing the profile of Anne Dike View online.
A-0194-003 Brass belt buckle with a crown and the latin motto "Providentiae Memor" View online.
A-0194-004 Sarah Cunningham’s medal from the American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France View online.
A-0194-005 Sarah Cunningham’s metal lapel clip View online.